On the day the World Trade Center was destroyed, George Bush declared, “America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world.” In the wake of the bombings in Madrid, Tony Blair stated that contemporary Islamist extremism is “driven not by a set of negotiable political demands, but by religious fanaticism”.
Bush and Blair here are seeking to address the fundamental question of ‘why’. For both of them, their respective nations are under threat because of their very nature as ‘free’ and ‘civilized’. The enemy is defined by his opposition to these values. It is this assumption that fatally undermines Western policy in the Middle East and strategy in ‘the war on terror’. Read more